The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-need schools. This goal was reorganized and not graded in 2017.
Mentoring for New Teachers: North Carolina requires that all new teachers receive mentoring. The State Board is required to develop a mentor program "to provide ongoing support for teachers entering the profession." A regular survey and evaluation process to assess the program's effectiveness is mandatory. The State Board is also required to distribute "guidelines that address optimum teaching load, extracurricular duties, student assignment, and other working condition considerations." The state further specifies that beginning teachers are not to be assigned extracurricular activities unless they request so in writing and that other non instructional duties of beginning teachers be minimized.
Mentor Selection Criteria: North Carolina requires that all mentor teachers have been rated at least "accomplished" on the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation System and "have met expectations for student growth." It is the State Board's responsibility to develop and coordinate a mentor-training program as well as to "develop criteria for selecting excellent, experienced, and qualified teachers to be participants in the mentor training program." The State Board of Education will allot funds for teacher mentoring services to local school administrative units based on the highest number of employees in the preceding three school years who are teachers paid on the first or second steps of the teacher salary schedule. Local school administrative units will use these funds to provide mentoring support in accordance with a plan approved by the State Board of Education, and that plan will include information on how mentors will be adequately trained to provide mentoring support.
Set more specific parameters.
North Carolina is commended for its consideration that new teachers receiving mentoring need special consideration to avoid overburdening them. To ensure that all teachers receive high-quality mentoring, the guidelines created by the State Board of Education should specify the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet. The State Board should also set a timeline by which mentors are assigned to new teachers, ideally soon after the commencing of teaching, to offer support during those critical first weeks of school.
North Carolina was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
Too many new teachers are left to "sink or swim" when they begin teaching, leaving most new teachers overwhelmed and under-supported at the outset of their teaching careers. Although differences in preparation programs and routes to the classroom do affect readiness, even teachers from the most rigorous programs need support once they take on the myriad responsibilities of their own classroom. A survival-of-the-fittest mentality prevails in many schools; figuring out how to successfully negotiate unfamiliar curricula, discipline and management issues, and labyrinthine school and district procedures is considered a rite of passage. However, new teacher frustrations are not limited to low performers. Many talented new teachers become disillusioned early by the lack of support they receive, and, particularly in our most high-needs schools, it is often the most talented teachers who start to explore other career options.
Vague requirements simply to provide mentoring are insufficient. Although many states recognize the need to provide mentoring to new teachers, state policies merely indicating that mentoring should occur will not ensure that districts provide new teachers with quality mentoring experiences. While allowing flexibility for districts to develop and implement programs in line with local priorities and resources, states also should articulate the minimum requirements for these programs in terms of the frequency and duration of mentoring and the qualifications of those serving as mentors.